February 25, 2013

Writer Wrangler + Giveaway: Allison Rushby

Today we have Aussie native Allison Rushby, author of brand new Historical New Adult series, The Heiresses. 

Braine: Hi Allison! Let's get right to it, can you tell us something about THE HEIRESSES that we won't find in the book blurbs?

Allison Rushby: With fantastic timing, I was living in Cambridgeshire in the UK whilst writing the serial, so it was an easy 55 minute train ride into London to do any research I needed to do. As an extra bonus, we weren't terribly far from the village where they shoot the Downton Abbey outdoor village scenes. I stopped by there one snowy Sunday and took a heap of photos. Because it was completely set up for filming the following day, it looked just like the show -- it was completely surreal!

Braine: Highclere Castle is definitely on my bucket list. Now I know THE HEIRESSES is set in the roaring twenties with flappers and speakeasies. Aside from the usual theme of this time, what is the main theme of the story? Sibling rivalry? Champagne and caviar lifestyle?

Allison Rushby: The main theme really revolves around all three heroines discovering what they want out of life (which isn't necessarily about money). There is certainly a lot of sibling rivalry and champagne and caviar lifestyle in the process of their discovery, however!

Braine: I have a feeling I will very much like this book, it's a lot like Luxe by Ana Godbersen which I know you've read and loved too. Aside from Ms. Godbersen, what  other book/s influenced you and your writing the most?

Allison Rushby: I've always been a huge fan of authors such as P.G. Wodehouse, Nancy and Jessica Mitford, Stella Gibbons and so on. It was a pleasure to re-read all my favourites before writing THE HEIRESSES.

Braine: Which line from THE HEIRESSES  is your favorite?

Allison Rushby:  Telegrams for the girls of Hayfield Abbey rarely contained good news—there had been a horse-riding accident, a motorcar accident, an elderly relative had choked to death on a buttered crumpet. (Sometimes this was not such terrible news after all and the recipient would return to the classroom with a down-turned expression, but a suspicious lightness in her step.) 

Braine: Shoot! I don't think I'd be eager to receive news then. THE HEIRESSES being a historical novel, did you encounter any special challenges as far as writing the story is concerned?

Allison Rushby: The biggest challenge for me was certainly to keep on writing. While I was a huge historical reader, I'd never written an historical book before and I found I very quickly became bogged down in the research. It didn't take me too long to realise I needed to put little 'x' signs in the spots where I needed to do more research and to go back and do all the research at one time. By doing this, I found I could move along with the writing more quickly and have my attention diverted by extremely interesting snippets of the past!

Braine: I'd imagine writing historical novels entail a lot of research otherwise the setting, dialogue etc. will be obviously haphazard. Now you've mentioned THE HEIRESSES is a serial, how is it different from writing a short story or novella?

Allison Rushby: I had no idea at the start, but writing a serial is so, so different from writing a short story, a novella, or even a novel. It was a steep learning curve and I was soon jotting down notes about series arcs, character arcs and cliffhangers all over the place. It helped a great deal to watch a number of popular TV series, print out their episode guides and to break them down as I watched.

Braine: What was the inspiration behind THE HEIRESSES?

Allison Rushby: This will sound terrible, but, looking back, it was a tiny segment I saw on Dr Phil! I won't say too much, because it would spoil the plot, but it involved a family and their genetic makeup and it got me to thinking how their scenario might play out pre-DNA testing. In The Heiresses, we have a family who guesses what might be going on. While they can't prove anything scientifically, they can patch together the past to get a better idea of how their situation might have come to pass.

Braine: Dr. Phil is the LAST person I'd associate with a twenties historical novel... You mentioned Downton Abbey, are you a fan of the series because I am!

Allison Rushby: I am so addicted to that series! Are there any similarities between the show and THE HEIRESSES? I sure do! I've moved back home to Australia now, but have left my computer believing it's still in the UK in order to watch Downton Abbey on ITV as soon as it comes out in the UK (they are always a long way ahead)! There are many similarities to THE HEIRESSES, especially now that Downton has moved into the 1920s. It's extremely helpful to watch what the girls are wearing in Downton Abbey now, as the costuming is as brilliant as the writing itself.

I love the flapper era, I find the 1920's so fascinating especially in terms of women's rights, gender equality and all that. Does the THE HEIRESSeS have a feminist flavor to it?It most definitely does, as the girls' aunt, Hestia, is quite the supporter of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). Aunt Hestia can be quite militant at times!

Braine: Free thinking girls are always a turn-on! What are you writing next?

Allison Rushby: I'm currently working on two projects, both New Adult. One has an erotic slant and the other is a psychological thriller. Quite different, but both lots of fun to be writing.

Braine: I'll certainly look forward to reading those in the future. Now for the fun questions, what book did you recently purchase?

Allison Rushby: I've just finished reading Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which was incredibly interesting and disturbing all rolled into one.

Braine: I've been meaning to read that novel but haven't had the time to check it out. Since you've mentioned "disturbing" I'll move it up the pile. Aside from your books, what other New Adult novel or series do you recommend?

Allison Rushby: I recently finished reading another St Martin's Press serial -- Jamie Brenner's The Gin Lovers. I really loved the fascinating look into the Prohibition era, which I didn't know that much about. Plus, it was a fantastic, fast read that I couldn't put down! I'm also a huge fan of Anna Godbersen's The Luxe and Bright Young Things series. I can't get enough of her work!

Braine: Thanks for stopping by Allison, looking forward to having you over when your other New Adult books are released.

Like historical fiction? 

Pre-order The Heiresses

Having failed at becoming a ballerina with pierced ears (her childhood dream), Allison Rushby instead began a writing career as a journalism student at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Within a few months she had slunk sideways into studying Russian. By the end of her degree she had learned two very important things: that she wasn't going to be a journalist; and that there are hundreds of types of vodka and they're all pretty good. After several years spent whining about how hard it would be to write a novel, she finally tried writing one and found it was quite an enjoyable experience. Since then, she has had nine novels published. She keeps up her education by sampling new kinds of vodka on a regular basis.

Fan Girls & Boys Welcome

Allison is giving away this very pretty scarf to one lucky Supie!
Contest ends March 5

Good luck!


  1. I love historical fiction! I especially loved reading books set in the regency era, but then I started watching Downton Abbey (is there anyone who hasn't? you must!) and I liked very much the 1920's. The history and the costumes are amazing. Thank you for the giveaway.

  2. I love HR too and with all these different era's stories are being written it..its so exciting!

    Loved the interview, I'll definitely add this to my TBR list ;)

  3. Ive just recently gotten into it. I didnt used to really like it but Ive grown more fond over it as I've gotten older.

  4. What a fun giveaway! I haven't read much HR but I'm thinking I should give it a try

  5. In general? Not really. I don't dislike this genre is just not my usual genre. And I actually enjoy reading them. One of my top favorite series of all time is a historical fiction which is the Outlander Series. Awesome series!! And another of my favorite is Tatiana and Alexander Trilogy by Paullina Simons. Such a GREAT love story and also some really sad crying parts to! The Heiresses sounds like something that I would really enjoy reading and it sounds GOOD!! This one will definitely be on my wish list and TBR list!!
    This is an AWESOME giveaway!! I totally LOVE the scarf!! I can just imagine this scarf on me!!:)

  6. Not only I love historical fiction, as well as I love some of the clothing! Victorian era, other eras, but some costumes were pretty disgusting, so I don't dream of living in eras like those, especially because of how women were treated, usually. However, fiction is here to fulfill our desire of "live" in these eras and also the clothing can be used whenever we can, even if people think we are insane, lo, we can always say we are cosplaying or going to a costume party! lol

  7. I actually do like to read historical fiction :) Highlanders are my favourite type of heroes.

  8. I love Historicals! I could name so many authors or books but I don't want to type that much. The fancy dresses, parties, and the rich history entwined in novels will always hold a special place in my heart!

  9. I love historical fiction!! HR is my guilty pleasure ♥I also love watching Historicals tv shows

  10. I do for the most part. I love the setting and all that fanciness. This one sounds really good! Thank you!

  11. I am a historical fiction fanatic. I'm crazy about regency romances and can't get enough of Michelle Moran. I started watching Downton Abbey over the weekend and am just diving into season 2. It's the most excited I've been about a series in a long while.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  12. I LOVE historical romance. But I have to whisper that because people always assume I read dirty versions of The King and I. Vixen was the first YA historical drama I loved that had little elements of full on romance. I keep hearing about this Downton Abbey and haven't the slightest idea what people are talking about. I do however plan to Google it later. Now on to the business of that lovely scarf pictured above: I WANT,so very badly!


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